Obama in Miami Today to Chase Latin Vote -- and Money

As his administration is nailed for health-care incompetence, President Obama is escaping to Miami today for three Democratic Party fundraisers and to curry favor with Latin voters.

He arrives at 3:45 p.m. at MIA and will hang around town until tomorrow at 3:25 p.m. One event will benefit the Democratic National Committee and two others the party's senatorial fundraising arm. None is open to the public.

According to the Miami Herald's Marc Caputo, the fundraisers are being hosted by Leslie Miller Saiontz, a philanthropist/real-estate maven; Jorge Mas Santos, whose father, Jorge Mas Canosa, would turn over in his grave if he got this news; and Ralph G. Patino, a personal-injury attorney.

The alliance with Mas Santos, who endorsed the president in 2008 and is an old buddy of U.S. Congressman Joe Garcia's, is the most intriguing. Mas Santos' father, Jorge Mas Canosa, was the bulwark of the Republican-Cuban alliance, and his son's strong support -- financial and political -- for the president has changed the political equation substantially in Florida.

In 2012, Obama received more of the Cuban vote than anyone thought possible -- 51 percent -- if you believe pollster Dario Moreno.

Most other Latin voters, particularly Mexicans and Puerto Ricans, have long been Democratic Party supporters.

In Miami, though, Cuban-Americans are where the big money is -- and the visit here, even though private, is meant to cement that support and build a bridge for the party, which stands a chance to make significant gains next year, when Charlie Crist is likely to win the governor's seat and bring some Democratic reps along for the ride.

Patino, a Coral Gables attorney, has an organization called Americano Como Tu to increase Hispanic political participation. He has also received public service awards for consumer lawsuits. U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz will attend his event.

Only Miller Saiontz isn't Latin. But she is a Harvard grad who is on the board of Teach for America -- good liberal cred.

Send your story tips to the author, Chuck Strouse.

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